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IndustryArena Forum > CNC Plasma, EDM / Waterjet Machines > General CNC Plasma / Oxy Fuel Cutting Machines > Need a recommendation on a control board for plasma cutter
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  1. #1
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    Jan 2010
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    34

    Need a recommendation on a control board for plasma cutter

    I have a DIY plasma cutter and I want to upgrade it's control system.

    Are there any recommendations on what would be the best machine control board. I'll be using Mach 3, a torch height controller, DM542T stepper drivers, touch-off height control on the Z and dual steppers on the X axis.

    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    Tom

  2. #2
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    May 2015
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    601

    Re: Need a recommendation on a control board for plasma cutter

    Have a look at Linuxcnc and Plasmac/QTplasmac. Much more than a THC, its a complete plasma controller
    QtPlasmaC
    $119 for a Mesa 7i96 and $69 for a MESA THCAD-10 gives you a complete THC system and countless other features many others dream about...
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

  3. #3
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    Nov 2013
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    1220

    Re: Need a recommendation on a control board for plasma cutter

    Hi,
    Mach3 is obsolete, if you're going to use Mach at all..... then do yourself a favor and use Mach4, otherwise use LinuxCNC as has already been suggested.

    Pro plasma tables are sorted into poor, good and great on the basis of THC bandwidth and anti-dive algorithms. Any proposed controller and software
    must deliver on these requirements or you will be disappointed.

    Craig

  4. #4
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    May 2015
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    601

    Re: Need a recommendation on a control board for plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Pro plasma tables are sorted into poor, good and great on the basis of THC bandwidth and anti-dive algorithms. Any proposed controller and software
    must deliver on these requirements or you will be disappointed.
    To me a pro plasma table means high definition plasma cutters such as Thermal Dynamics, Kjellberg and Hypertherm. These are going to set you back about $100k. There is a lot more to them than THC bandwidth and antidive. Aside from multiple gasses and the ability to cut 35mm thick steel and above, one of the biggest features they have is smart hole cutting algorithms backed by countless hours testing on real tables with real steel. Typically, this is done in gcode by their proprietary post processors (Like Hypertherm's Pronest).

    One of the advantages of Linuxcnc is that all the THC features are done in real time by the motion controller so you don't need an external THC, you just need to give Linuxcnc a way to read the torch voltage and it can control the cutting height with its sophisticated PID controllers. With a typical 1 kHz servo thread, Linuxcnc can respond 1000 times a second to changes in the environment so bandwidth is not an issue. Antidive is also very trivial to implement becasue the motion controller knows the cut velocity at any given millisecond and can respond instantly to changes in cut velocity when approaching a corner. Similarly locking the THC when crossing a void is possible too.

    We think we can add the high definition hole cutting capability to Linuxcnc through a gcode filter that processes all gcode files as they are opened. We can then sense holes, delete the G2/G3 arcs and recreate them with the required lead in using parameters retrieved from a hole database for that specific thickness of material and hole diameter. This will allow adjusting the cut speed and even adjust the kerf offset to account for a wider kerf as velocity is slowed. One day these features may become available in Linuxcnc but somebody has to do the research to determine the parameters stored in the holecutting database!

    Its not possible to do this in systems like Mach because you do not have access to the motion controller internals like you do with Linuxcnc.
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

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